coffee

  • Crew Review: Bonavita Coffee Maker

    Bonavita 8-Cup Coffee Maker

    There really isn't anything like waking up on a beautiful Sunday morning and setting a pot of coffee to brew while you check Twitter. We like to start our Sundays (OK lets be honest, basically everyday) with a full pot from the Bonavita Coffee Maker. This is the latest update from Bonavita that adds some really excellent features.

    Some of the awesome updates include:

    • A larger shower head designed for optimal saturation of every last coffee ground. 
    • Pre-infusion mode to allow the grounds to bloom before being brewed.
    • A flat bottom filter basket for a fuller and more robust flavor.

    Of course the Bonavita Coffee Maker still comes with the thermal carafe that will keep your coffee nice and hot for about an hour (if the pot even lasts that long!).

    Watch this Crew Review video below and then head over to our YouTube channel for more videos featuring Gail and the rest of the Seattle Coffee Gear team!

     

     

  • Crew Review: Bonavita Gooseneck Kettle

    Bonavita Variable Temperature KettleIf you are at all like us, you may have at one point found yourself lying awake at night in preparation for your morning pour over. Reliving past cups of coffee, looking for moments in your technique that you could improve so that the next one, would be the perfect one. As you might be able to tell, we don’t always get much sleep.

    Well, we have good news for you! Bonavita has cured all our sleepless nights. The Bonavita Gooseneck Kettle is the must have for all pour over enthusiasts and insomniacs alike. It has a sleek design, the control that goosenecks are known for and the ability to set your water to any temperature you would like.

    Oh, and did we mention it also has a timer built right in? Don’t just take our word for it, but you should listen to Gail. Watch the video below as she walks you through the features of this amazing machine in this brand new Crew Review.

    And remember, a solid nights sleep is just a pour over away.

     

  • Crew Review: Spressa Mezzo Manual Lever Kit for AeroPress

    *whew* Long name, awesome purpose! The Spressa Mezzo is an ingenious creation, dreamed up by some folks right spressa-2here in Seattle, that brings an ease to Aeropress coffee preparation. How so?

    Well, it all starts with a flat box being shipped to you, ready for Ikea-style assembly (don't worry, the Spressa Mezzo is quite easy to put together, unlike that 75 piece dresser you bought last year). This little buddy, which is built with sustainable wood products, comes together to provide you with much needed plunger leverage.

    So what are you waiting for? Watch Gail's video review, save your precious arms from a workout and pretty up your Aeropress setup!

  • Crew Review: Saeco Energica Superautomatic Espresso Machine

    Espressos, cappuccinos and lattes – oh my! The Saeco Energica is quite the energetic saeco-energicasuperautomatic. Why are we so thrilled about this energizing machine? We’re glad you asked…

    The latest Certified Refurbished machine to release from Saeco, we like to think we’re reuniting the Energica with its long lost Exprelia family – you see the resemblance too, right? Featuring large, programmable one-touch buttons, a convenient auto milk frothing container and removable hot water spout, we dare you to find something this machine can’t do! Did we also mention the Energica has a bypass doser for your favorite pre-ground blend?

    If all of these features leave you curious for more – and we know it does, don’t miss Gail’s latest review of this super-de-duper automatic machine!

  • Brew Tips: How to Make a Macchiato

    Sarah and Dori are back (at the same bat time on the same bat channel) and ready to share their cafe macchiatobrew tips with you! Up this time is the macchiato, but not the one drenched in caramel that you are accustomed to seeing in a big chain coffee shop. While, admittedly, those are delicious, this is an old fashioned foamed milk and espresso type o' macchiato.

    Composed of two parts espresso to one part foamed milk. And by "foamed milk" we really mean either the foam off the top of the milk or really, really well frothed milk. So milky coffee lovers may want to look at a cappuccino to get their espresso beverage fix!

    How to Make a Macchiato

    1)   Clear the extra water out of the steam wand.

    2)   Follow our steps for frothing milk for a cappuccino (yes, even though you are making a macchiato) when preparing your milk.

    3)   As you froth your milk, keep in mind that you should be expanding it quite a bit and incorporating in as much air as you can. Remember: We're looking for that milk foam!

    4)   Clean up that steam wand while you pull your espresso shot.

    5)   Give your frothing pitcher a firm tap against the counter and swirl to incorporate the foam into the milk.

    6)   For a macchiato with very foamed milk, pour the milk directly on top of the espresso shot. For a macchiato with a dollop of foam, let the milk sit for a minute to let it separate from the foam (or don't tap and swirl initially) and then spoon a few tablespoons onto the espresso shot.

    You can be as pro as Sarah and Dori, too. Just watch the video below and then follow the foolproof steps to macchiato mania!

  • Brewin’ with Brandi: Coffee Ice Cream in a Baggie

    Let us just start off by saying that we realize there are more efficient ways to make ice cream.

    Shaking It Up!

    However, we believe this way may be the best. Why? Well, there are three things we really love about this recipe:

    • The ice cream is amazing
    • It's a workout...seriously
    • Did we mention that the ice cream is amazing?

    Plus, it really is (as Kaylie repeats over and over again) a science project. The freezing point of the ice is lowered when you add salt to the bag, meaning that the ice must absorb even more energy (heat!) from the ingredients than it would normally need to in order to melt. The more energy that's absorbed from the ingredients, the colder the ingredients get and *voila!* ice cream is made.

    So, yeah, don't feel too bad about having your children shake you up a delicious ice cream treat. It's a little like continuing their education through the summer months (or evenings or weekends...), yes?

    Oh, and there will be water everywhere, so do this outside or in an uncarpeted area.

    Ingredients

    • Ice
    • 1 cup rock salt
    • 2 tbsp sugar
    • ½ shot of coffee concentrate (me made ours on the Toddy!)
    • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

    Other Items

    • Gallon ziplock bag
    • Quart ziplock bag

    Directions

    • Add ice to the gallon-sized bag until it is a little more than halfway full.
    • Pour the rock salt onto the ice and shake to mix.
    • In the quart-sized bag, add the sugar, coffee concentrate and heavy whipping cream. Mix lightly and then seal tightly, leaving a little bit of air in the bag.
    • Place the quart-sized bag into the bag filled with ice and seal.
    • Shake and shake and shake some more. Your muscles will burn like they've never burned before, but push through it! Shake for five minutes and then check the ice cream for consistency.
    • If the ice cream is still a bit too much on the liquid side, keep shaking. If it's mostly solidified (remember, it won't be frozen solid, it will just be more solid), then you're good to go.
    • Remove the ice cream from its ice and salt bath, wipe off the bag and then eat it up!
  • Brew Tips: How to Make a Latte and a Mocha

    how to make a latte2Last week we gave you some tips on how to perfectly froth your milk for creating a latte or a cappuccino. Now we are going to expand on those skills a bit and show you how to make a latte and a mocha. Once again we used our trusty Nuova Simonelli Musica Espresso Machine with its super-charged frothing power to create these drinks.

    How to Make a Latte

    1) When making a latte you can use as much milk as you want. Generally you want to use more milk for a latte than you would use for making a cappuccino, about 8 oz. is a good amount.

    2) Once you have your milk, follow the same tips we used for frothing milk for a latte in our video last week.

    3) Since you are only making a little bit foam for your latte, make sure you submerge your steam arm fairly quickly to ensure you are just heating the milk and not creating bubbles.

    4) When your milk is hot, tap the pitcher and swirl the milk around the pitcher to get it mixed in. This time around you will be able to see the milk texture underneath, as the milk is not nearly as thick as when we were frothing it for a cappuccino. However, you can still create a rich milk by making sure any foam you have created is well-incorporated in to the milk. If you let it separate out too much, you’ll get that lighter milk texture and have thick foam on the top.

    5) Pour your frothed milk into a cup containing a shot (or two or three!) of espresso and you have created a latte.

    How to Make a Mocha

    1) Creating a mocha is very similar to creating a latte, as it is basically a latte with chocolate. As such, follow steps 1-4 in the latte recipe above to prepare the milk for your mocha.

    2) Before you add milk to your cup, mix your espresso shot with chocolate syrup (you can use any type of chocolate to create a mocha – white, dark, sugar-free, whatever you prefer). Stir the espresso and shot together with a spoon to make sure they are well combined. This makes creating the drink easier, especially if you want to attempt latte art, which we’ll save for another post.

    3) Pour in the milk with the espresso chocolate mixture, and enjoy.

    Follow along with Dori and Sarah as they make a latte and a mocha. Make sure to check back in next week to discover what other coffee concoctions you can make with your newfound skills.

    Brew Tips: How to Make a Latte or a Mocha

  • Crew Review: Francis Francis Y5

    Francis Francis Y5If you are in the market for a capsule espresso maker, the new Francis Francis Y5 for illy is the way to go. This is largely because the machine is both sophisticated and very convenient. With brushed and mirrored stainless steel casing, the machine will look very elegant on your countertop. The machine is also very slim, it probably is even smaller than a toaster, so you won’t have any trouble finding room for it on your counter. Yet despite its small size, the Y5 still has a water tank that is larger than most in its class, which is nice because that means you won’t be constantly refilling it. There is even a nice staging area on the top machine, which heats up as you use the machine so you can take the chill off your cups.

    The Francis Francis Y5 truly is a no fuss, no muss machine. To brew a shot, all you have to do is pop your Iperespresso Capsule into the top of the machine, select whether you want a single or double shot, and the machine will do the rest for you. In less than a minute, you will have a full-bodied shot of espresso, with rich crema, waiting for you. If you like to get fancy and play around with the settings on your machine, you are able to do so on this machine as well. You can program the volume of both the single and double shots on your machine. To program the machine, simply hold the button for your single or double shot (whichever you are programming) while brewing and then make your adjustments. The Y5 will then remember these setting for the next time you brew, so you won’t have to worry about entering them in again. Best of all, when the machine is done brewing your shot it will automatically eject the espresso capsule from the brewing chamber in to the dredge box.

    Ultimately, you really can’t go wrong with this machine. Even Brendan admitted that this is his favorite capsule machine, because it has such a nice look and is easy to use. Check out the sleek styling of the Francis Francis Y5 as Brendan and Dori brew up a shot.

    Crew Review: Francis Francis Y5

  • Tech Tips: Cleaning and Maintaining a Drip Coffee Maker

    Cleaning and Maintaining a Drip Coffee MakerHere at SCG, we discuss the importance of taking care of various espresso machines and coffee accessories quite a bit. So, imagine our surprise when it came to our attention that we had yet to cover cleaning and maintaining a drip coffee maker. Although we use these machines every day, it seems that they are so easy to use that we tend to forget that they need maintenance too. Once we realized we were remiss in our ways, we set out to remedy the situation as soon as possible. We took stock of our machines, and realized that the much-loved Technivorm Moccamaster in our break room was overdue for a cleaning. Thus, we temporarily borrowed this little dude to return it to its shinning glory.

    The first step in maintaining your drip coffee maker is making sure to descale from time to time. Technivorm recommends using Urnex’s Dezcal Coffee/Espresso Machine Descaler, so we used it for our descaling process, but it is a good idea to check with the manufacture of your particular machine to see what they suggest. To descale, simply mix the descaler with hot water and fill up the water tank with the mixture. When you turn the machine on, the mixture will be pulled through the water path of the machine and clear put any scale that has built up. Once you have finished descaling, make sure to run two cycles of just plain water through your machine to rinse out all of the descaling solution.

    After you have descaled your drip coffee maker and rinsed it free of solution, the third, and final, step in this maintenance process is to give your machine a good cleaning. To do so, soak all parts of the machine that come into contact with coffee residue in Cafiza. Generally speaking, these pieces are the coffee pot, coffee pot lid, brew basket lid, water tank lid, spray arm and brew basket. Let all of this gear soak for about 5-10 minutes, then give it a rinse and wipe it down. You also may want to dip a rag into your Cafiza solution and give the outside of the water tank, heating plate, stand, etc. a good wipe down to get your coffee maker extra clean.

    One important thing to keep in mind is that while descaling a drip is easy, it doesn’t mean should do it all the time. Generally most manufactures will have a recommendations for often you should descale, so it’s a good idea to consult your manual or local service center for advice before you start the descaling. To learn more about how to clean and maintain your drip coffee maker at home, watch Brendan take us through the process in this video.

    Tech Tips: Cleaning and Maintenance for Your Drip Coffee Maker

  • SCAA 2014: Hario Beam Heater

    HarioAs we mentioned a few weeks ago, to us, Hario means happiness (the true meaning of the word is “king of glass”). And nothing makes us happier than fun new coffee gear to play with! Thus, we made sure to make our way over to the Hario booth while we at the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) expo. As we expected, Hario had a ton of great new products on display. We’re big fans of science and are always interested in creating experiments of our own, so our two favorite products that are new to the United States market are the Hario Beam Heater and the Hario Next Siphon.

    Luckily, we had Kris Fulton from Lamil Coffee (a California based coffee house) to explain the beam heater to us. One of the main advantages is that the heat it emits comes from a really high-powered halogen lamp, which comes with a dimmer switch that allows you to have more control over the heat coming off the lamp as well as the direct heat on the coffee. To show us how the beam heater works Kris demoed it with the Next Siphon, enabling us to learn more about the siphon as well. Siphon brewing as become pretty popular in the past couple years, since not only does it produce a great cup, but it is also neat to watch and is sure to impress your guests. So we put our “scientist hats” on and watched Kris brew us on a cup of coffee. Although the process does look like a science experiment, we were happy to find that this brewing method is not as complicated for the barista as it sounds.

    Basically, using a siphon brewer is all about pressure. Once the water in the bottom chamber of the siphon gets to the right temperature, you use the rubber seal at bottom of the top chamber to create a vacuum that draws the water from the bottom chamber to the top chamber. When all the water is in the top chamber, you introduce the coffee to the hot water. The next step is to give the coffee a stir to fully incorporate it and then let it sit for a certain amount of time. After the coffee sits for the desired length of time, you turn off (or remove) your heat source and break the seal you created earlier. This causes the vacuum between the two chambers to suck the coffee down into the bottom chamber. As the coffee is being sucked down, the ground coffee is going to be filtered out by the metal filter. Thus, at the bottom of the carafe you will have fresh brewed coffee and at the top of the carafe you will have ground coffee. The resulting coffee, according to Kris “has the full-body richness you get from a full-immersion brewer like a French press combined with the clarity you get from a percolator like V60 or a pour over.” In other words, it is delicious! To learn more about both of these products, and to see them in action, watch as Kris shows them off in this video.

    SCAA 2014: Hario Beam Heater

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